Darwis Sasmedi

Widyaiswara LPMP Sulawesi Selatan

Abstract: This classroom action research aims at increasing  the motivation and speaking performance of the third year students of SMA Negeri 2 Makassar. The model applied was problem-based instruction utilizing picture/logo as the basis for classroom interaction. The use of picture in a problem-based instruction is expected to increase the students’ motivation to speak English and to improve their speaking performance and fluency. The research cycle started with intial assessment of the students’ speaking performance and barriers to speak English. This strategy encouraged the students to speak and express ideas in their groups and to comment and ask questions during the large group presentation. In the second cycle, the students chose the members of their groups since they asked for own group membership preference. The ability of the students to speak English indicated a significant improvement, an average of 1.14 score point increase (p <.0.5). The use of picture as a lead of the problem-based instruction encourages all  students to speak English, overcomes the lack of ideas and worry of making mistakes when they are asked to speak English. It is therefore suggested that the use of picture/logo or emblem as a lead to a problem-based instruction be applied to encorage the SMA students to speak English.

Key Words: Improving, the students’ ability to speak English, pictures, through problem based instruction

Teaching speaking at Senior High School in Indonesia is one of the main focuses the English teaching. The principle of teaching English is all the process of teaching should be communicative because the graduates of the students of Senior High School are directed to have life skill for communication to meet the need for  job opportunity, besides they can continue their study to the higher level. Therefore the English teachers should find out the effort on searching and creating a new model in presenting materials, in order to increase the students’ ability to speak English.

Many teachers make efforts to make their class interesting with various methods, techniques, instruments and materials in order to stimulate the students to learn English.  In oral English class as for example, the students are served with conductive learning activity so they can speak English as well as possible. The first thing a teacher should create the best condition for learning, as an instrument to see that learning takes place. The teachers’ responsibility is to create a situation that provides opportunities and stimulate the students to communicate English orally   that they may have at disposal, thus giving them confidence or brave to speak in improving their speaking English.

English teachers have many handicaps. One of them is  the students’ low motivation and low achievement in speaking English is probably due to the lack opportunity in practicing it. It means that the mastery of speaking English  needs much time to practice it. Realizing such condition in speaking class, English teachers should be more creatively to look for the best way for communicative activities that urge and motivate the students to improve  their ability to speak English.

Many communicative activities can be used to develop the students’ speaking ability, such as role-play, debate, seminar, information gap, group discussion, simulation, games, and pair work. Occasionally, pair work is needed in the classroom during the teaching and learning activities. Because of it, students will be brave and free to speak English. This is also suitable for big English class activities. Pair work activity is enjoyable for students because it is a kind of having fun communication activities while practicing to speak English actively.

In respect to the present study, the researcher focused his study in improving the speaking English through problem based instruction. To achieve this, classroom English activities should be designed and managed in such a way, that can motivate and activate students in practicing and using their English. Well-designed and organized activities should be become the main concern of the English teachers, especially in the teaching of speaking skill, as it is the most crucial skill to teach. It is direct and more social than other skills. It demands the display.

Teaching English using pictures through problem based instruction  is one of the ways of successful teaching in improving the students’ ability to speak English which is based on constructivism paradigm is similar with communicative approach.

Based on the background above, the researchers formulate the following research questions:  (1) does the use pictures through problem based instruction significantly improve the students’ ability to speak English? (2) do the students have high motivation in speaking English using pictures through problem based instruction?

Relating to the problem statement above, the objective of this research is then specified: (1) to know about the effectiveness of using pictures in improving the motivation to speak English through problem based instruction, (2) to know about the effectiveness of using pictures through problem based instruction in improving the students’ ability to speak English

The results of this reseach are expected to be useful information to: (1) increase the teachers’ knowledge of English and share experiences in improving the students’ ability to speak English using pictures through problem based instruction, (2) encourage the teachers’ colleagues in doing action research in improving their teaching as the professional practices, (3) give any contribution to the general public in increasing knowledge concerning about classroom action research and to get any reflection for being perfection, and (4) be useful information for the people who want to conduct further research using pictures  through problem based instruction to learn and master English.

This research limited to the teaching of English at the third year students of SMAN 2 Makassar using pictures through problem based instruction to improve their ability to speak English. The writer focused his attention in improving the students’ ability to speak English and the students’ motivation in the process of teaching and learning using pictures through problem based instruction. The teaching English activities were used   were:  (1) monologue,    (2) question and answer;  and (3) group presentation.

Speaking is an interactive process of constructing meaning that involves producing and receiving and processing information (Brown, 1994; Burns & Joyce, 1977). Its form and meaning are dependent on the context in which it occurs, including the participants themselves, their collective experiences, the physical environment, and the purposes for speaking. It often spontaneous, open-ended, and evolving. However, speech is not always unpredictable. Speaking requires that learners not only know how to produce specific points of language such as grammar, pronunciation, or vocabulary (linguistic competence), but also that they understand when, why, and in what ways to produce language (sociolinguistic competence).

Another basic distinction we can make when considering the development of speaking skills is between monologue and dialogue or pair work.  The ability to give an uninterrupted oral presentation is quite distinct from interacting with one or more other speakers for transactional and interactional purposes.  While all native speakers can and do use language interactional, not all native speakers have the ability to extemporize on given subject to a group of listeners.  This is a ability which generally has to be learned and practiced.

Speaking lesson can follow the usual pattern of preparation, presentation, practice, evaluation, and extension. The teacher can use the preparation step to observe, draw , and establish a context for speaking task on certain objects and  things (where, when, why, with whom it will occur) and to initiate awareness of speaking skill to be targeted. In presentation, the teacher can provide learners with a reproduction model that furthers learner comprehension and help them become more attentive observers of language use. Practice involves learners in reproducing the target structure, usually in controlled or highly supported manner. Evaluation involves directing attention to the skill being examined and asking learners to monitor and assess their own progress. Finally, extension consists of  activities that ask learners to use strategy or skill in a different context or authentic communicative situation, or to integrate use of new skill or strategy with previously acquired ones (Brown, 1994). In other words, the pattern of preparation, presentation, practice, evaluation, and extension became one unity.

Richards et al, (in Jabu, 2000) stated that speaking is rarely done in one direction or in the form of monologue.  It involves the participation of the listener.  In an interactive communication, a speaker, and therefore the speaker also becomes a listener

Canal quoted by Richards and Schmidt, (in Jabu, 2000) stated that oral communication involves the exchange and negotiation of information between, at least two individuals through the use of verbal and nonverbal symbols and production and comprehension process.  Communication involves a system of giving and receiving information. Crane et al, (in Jabu, 2000) defined communication as a process in which information is transmitted from a source, the sender to a goal, the receiver. This process involves the steps: encoding the information into a symbolic system, selecting a mode of communication, delivering the symbols through a medium, perceptual processing of symbols by the receiver, and decoding of the symbols to obtain the information.

A wise statement says ‘I hear I forget, I see I know,  and I do I understand. This means that if we have learning experiences  by observing , drawing, doing and also what our eyes see and catch most of the time will stay long in our memory. Therefore, the statement strengthens to improve the students’ ability to speak English by using students’ own pictures (observing and then drawing pictures) of certain  objects in the classroom as media to teach English. Pictures as visual aids will attract students’ attention, and motivate them to learn. In addition,  using picture means that the students create or construct their knowledge as they attempt to bring meaning to their experiences.

Using pictures through problem based instruction would influence and reflect the interest, motivation, and attitudes of students. To many students, English is considered as a difficult subject, therefore it should be taught in various ways so that the students can be more interested and motivated in learning it.

The techniques of using pictures has been around for centuries and has had its place in all approaches to language teaching. Through traditionally the purpose of using pictures has been to describe or illustrate a written or recorded passage (Wright, 1000 pictures 2). Brown in Nappu (2003) stated that picture can be used in many stages of the instructional process, to introduce and motivate study of new topics, to clarify misconceptions, to communicate basic information, and to evaluate student’s progress and achievement. Furthermore, he suggests some ways of using pictures for ensuring maximum students benefit from using them.

Using pictures can be an effective technique for any proficiencies level or language skill. The following is an example of how one picture can be used in improving the students’ ability to speak English.  To teach speaking where the students share personal experiences that somehow relate to what is happening in a picture they have been given and drawn.

As teaching English based on meaning-based approach has to achieve the goal of teaching that is communicative competence in which students are encourage to negotiate the meaning. Various kinds of instructional media can be used. Teachers can prepared any media that meet the needs of the students to achieve the teaching objectives or they have to provide bank of games and activities

The teacher should know the characteristics of a successful speaking activity in order to be success in teaching speaking in improving the students’ ability to speaking English using their own pictures through pair work. Characteristics of a successful speaking activity, as in the following: (1) Learners talk a lot. As much as possible of the period of time allotted to the activity is fact occupied by learner talk.  This may seem obvious, but often most time is taken up with teacher talk or pauses; (2) Participation is even. Classroom discussion is not dominated by a minority of talkative participants: all get a chance to speak, and contributions are fairly evenly distributed; (3) Motivation is high. Learners are eager to speak: because they are interested in the topic and have something new to say about, or

The teacher can help to solve some of the problems with speaking activities: (1) Monologue; (2) Group work; (3) Question and answer drills; (4) Group presentation with the topic “Party Declaration”. Every group is invited to perform his presentation. One student from the group is assigned to tell the the audience about the background of the party. The other students explain about the picture/logo and its meaning, explain the vision and mission, and conclusion. The participating groups will be given chance to ask questions to the group presenter. It is very interesting activities of group presentation. It can increase motivation of the students to speak English, like asking questions, describing their pictures/logos, and speech through actions.

Problem based instruction activity consisted of monologue, question and answer, and group presentation.  In the problem based instruction activity, the students could explain their pictures/logos. It means that the interaction between one student and another might be carried out in the form of group work and group presentation or classical interaction

Before teahing implementation to the students using picturs/logos the researchers firstly identified the students problems that could be the main focus to be taught through the classroom action reseach which could be overcoming using pictures/logos as teaching model in improving the speaking ability.

Teaching English at Senior High Schools focus on teaching English as a means of communication. Therefore it needs teaching model in improving the students’ speaking ability.


The method used in this research was classroom action research focused on improving the students’ ability to speak English using pictures/logos through problem based instruction. The subject of the research consisted of 43 students of the third years of SMAN 2 Makassar in  2005/2006  academic year.

Using pictures/logos means the pictures belong to the students (e.g. pictures taken from magazines and newspapaer) or the pictures that the students had drawn by themselves. Problem based instruction given, make a new party of their own, draw pictures/logos for their own party, and make an explanation based on the pictures/logos.

The data were collected from the instruments of this research. They were test, questionnaire, and observation. Pretest (diagnostic test), and posttest were used to measure the improvement of students’ ability to speak English of each cycle. The questionnaire was done in getting information on the students’ motivation in speaking English using pictures as in table 1.

Table 1. The rating score of the students’ motivation of their    speaking ability.








Very active


Less active


The amount of asking questions or talking frequency in  4  times and more.

The amount of asking questions or talking frequency in  2  to  3 times.

The amount of asking questions or talking frequency in once.

The amount of asking questions or talking frequency in zero.

The rating score used to analyze the data on the students’ motivation that can be seen as in Table 2

Table 2. The rating score of motivation category

Classification                                  Rating Score                                     Criteria

Very active                                              4                                              Strongly motivated

Active                                                      3                                              Motivated

Less active                                               2                                              Fairly motivated

Not active                                                1                                              Unmotivated

Cycles of the Action Research

There were two cycles of this action research, the first and the second cycle.  Each cycle was done in two weeks , twice meetings and six hours. The second cycle  was the same step of the first cycle, but of course, there was any change in the second cycle based on the reflection and evaluation or sharing experiences from the researchers’ colleagues as collaboration based on the experiences and results of the reflection of the first cycle of this action research.

The cycle procedure of this reseach was cycle 1: (1) planning, the students prepared their pictures/logos. The researcher asked every student or group to observe one object and draw it in a piece of paper that related to the theme as for example: Politics and Politics Parties; (2)  Implementation of the action research, before doing the teaching activities, the students first of all, were given the diagnostic test (pretest) of the speaking English tests; (3) Observation, since the processing of the teaching and learning English in a communicative way of a series teaching activities, the researcher observed the students’ motivation, the attitude, the style, the action, the performance, the ability of speaking, and the using of arts of speaking, using pictures in all interaction-communicative activities; and (4) reflection and evaluation, after presenting the teaching speaking to the students using pictures through problem based instruction, the researcher evaluated towards the implementations of using pictures through problem based instruction, whether the students had high motivation in speaking English or not, or whether the materials were interested enough and their presentations were attractive well or not. The researcher also evaluated about the influence of worrying about the English speaking mistakes because there were no teacher interventions while the processes of the communicative activities were running.

The researcher evaluated the implementation of using pictures through problem based instruction whether the teaching and learning interactions in English classroom were good or not. So it could be concluded that it would be very important to improve the students’ ability to speak English using pictures through problem based instruction. This teaching strategy is very up to date for making communicative teaching activities as the main purpose of the teaching of English at Senior High School or other schools.

The students gave comments about the teaching the communicative activities using pictures/logos through problem based instruction that all activities were attractive for the students to build up speaking skill and could motivate them to speak English.

The procedure of the second cycle was done in the same as of the first cycle, as in the following: (1) planning, the main target of this second cycle was to make any perfection of the target of the first cycle of this action research. In this stage, the planning and the procedure of the first cycle was the same as the second cycle. At this cycle, planning was changed based on the experiences from the first cycle in order to make any improvement by taking consideration about the technique of teaching, the material, the media that the researcher used, and the sharing experiences from the researcher’s colleagues in all activities of speaking interaction using picture through problem based instruction. The first changing was on the resource of pictures/logos that the students were asked to draw or bring their own pictures from different resources for example from magazines, newspapers, and they also could draw themselves as long as they could. The most important thing that their  pictures were related to the topic/theme that the researcher presented namely politics or political parties. The second changing was on the using of asking and answering the question techniques related to their pictures where the research gave models or pattern how to ask and answer questions in English; (2) implementation, the procedure of this action research in this cycle was the same as of the first cycle above. In this cycle the teaching speaking based on the sharing experiences of the first cycle in order to make much better than the first implementation of teaching of the first cycle or to make successful teaching; (3) observation, the observation and evaluation in this cycle were the same as at the first cycle above.  The main aim of this cycle was to observe and evaluate about the participation of the students in taking an active part in the processing of the communicative activities in building up speaking; (4) reflection and evaluation. This research just consisted of two cycles, the result of the first and the second reflections of each cycle were compared to measure the improvement of the students’ speaking ability using pictures through problem based instruction.

The reflection of this cycle showed that most of the students were interested in learning to speak English because they thought that speaking English was not difficult. The first difficult was in drawing their own pictures because some the them could not draw themselves well, but it could be overcome by asking them to find out or take their own pictures from magazine and newspapers. The second difficult was the technique of asking and answering questions. The students gave reflection in this cycle that the successful of the speaking ability was much influenced by the personal behavior of the teachers of English and the skill of the implementation of teaching to the students. Most of them needed the practice materials for practicing in improving their speaking ability. They liked using pictures through problem based instruction, describing them both individual or group work activity  in front of the class. These activities made them, creatively, bravely, and freely in improving their ability to speak English.


The Students’ Motivation

The application of using pictures through problem based instruction as a teaching strategy motivated the students to improve their ability to speak English as indicated by the mean score the respondents got from the questionnaire, strongly motivated was 42 per cent and motivated was 58. It could be concluded that the students’ motivation within in motivated category.

The Students’ Speaking Ability Development

The students’ speaking ability gained development through the use of  pictures through problem based instruction as shown by the significant difference Table 3.

Table 3. The students’ speaking ability development of pre-test and  post-test



Mean score



Standard deviation



Table 3 shows that the students’ speaking ability got a significant development gain, which is .80

a =.05

t = 2,316

df = 43 – 1 = 42

Critical value of t = 2.021

Since the t-value (2,316) is greater than the t-table (2.021), this result shows that there is a significant difference between the mean score of the pre-test and post-test of the students’ speaking ability.

The students’ speaking ability development in terms of pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, discourse, and performance are the measurement of the students’ speaking ability to speak English using pictures.


The discussion deals with interpretation of the findings from the result of the statistical analysis and the researcher noted during the classroom interaction.

The students’ motivation

The analysis showed that the use of using pictures/logos in improving their ability to speak English significantly influenced the students’ motivation in improving their ability to speak English. This means that there is an applicable strategy in teaching speaking skill to develop the students’ speaking fluency. In other words, the students’ motivation is the indication of the degree of success that a foreign language learner is likely to have in real given language situation.

In improving the students’ ability to speak English, the teaching implementation using pictures/logos through problem based instruction was a  effective teaching strategy in building up the students’ motivation and improving the significant achievement of the students. The students’ motivation can be seen in Table 4.

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